Catinat, Theuriet the major-domo, and two
of the censitaires. Wounded, parched, and
powder-blackened, they were still filled with
the mad courage of desperate men who knew
that death could come in no more terrible
form than through surrender. The stone
staircase ran straight up from the kitchen
to the main-hall, and the door which had
been barricaded across the lower part by
two mattresses, commanded the whole flight.
Hoarse whisperings and the click of the cock-
ing of guns from below told that the Iroquois
were mustering for a rush.
THE DINING HALL OF SAINTE MARIE. 261
" Put the lantern by the door," said Du
Lhut, '' so that it may throw the Hght upon
the stair. There is only room for three to
fire, but you can all load and pass the guns.
Monsieur Green, will you kneel with me, and
you Jean Duval. If one of us is hit let
another take his place at once. Now be
ready, for they are coming ! "
As he spoke there was a shrill whistle from
below, and in an instant the stair was filled
with rushing red figures and waving weapons.
Bang I Bang ! Bang ! went the three guns,
and then again and again Bang ! Bang Bang !
The smoke was so thick in the low-roofed
room that they could hardly see to pass the
muskets to the eager hands which grasped for
them. But no Iroquois had reached the
barricade, and there was no patter of their
feet now upon the stair. Nothing but an
angry snarling and an occasional groan from
below. The marksmen were uninjured, but
they ceased to fire and waited for the smoke
262 THE REFUGEES.
And when it cleared they saw how deadly
their aim had been at those close quarters.
Only nine shots had been fired, and seven
Indians were littered up and down on the
straight stone stair. Five of them lay motion-
less, but two tried to crawl slowly back to
their friends. Du Lhut and the censitaire
raised their muskets, and the two crippled
men lay still.
'' By Saint Anne I " said the old pioneer, as
he rammed home another bullet. '' If they
have our scalps we have sold them at a great
price. A hundred squaws will be hov/ling in
their villages when they hear of this day's
'' Aye, they will not forget their welcome at
Sainte Marie," said the old nobleman. ''I
must again express my deep regret, my dear
De Catinat, that you and your wife should
have been put to such inconvenience when
you have been good enough to visit me. I
trust that she and the others are safe at the
fort by this time."
THE DINING HALL OF SAINTE MARIE. 263
'' May God grant that they are ! Oh, I
shall never have an easy moment until I see
her once more."
'' If they are safe we may expect help in
the morning, if we can hold out so long.
Chambly, the commandant, is not a man to
leave a comrade at a pinch."
The cards were still laid out at one end of
the table, with the tricks over-lapping each
other as they had left them on the previous
morning. But there was something else there
of more interest to them, for the breakfast had
not been cleared away, and they had been
fighting all day with hardly bite or sup. Even
when face to face with death nature still cries
out for her dues, and the hungry men turned
savagely upon the loaf, the ham, and the cold
wild duck. A little cluster of wine bottles
stood upon the buffet, and these had their
necks knocked off*, and were emptied down
parched throats. Three men still took their
turn, however, to hold the barricade, for they
were not to be caught napping again. The
264 - THE KEFUGEES.
yells and screeches of the savages came up to
them as though all the wolves of the forest
were cooj)ed up m the basement, but the stair
was deserted save for the seven motionless
'' They will not try to rush us again," said
Du Lhut with confidence. '' We have taught
them too severe a lesson."
'' They will set fire to the house."
'' It will puzzle them to do that," said the
major-domo. ''It is solid stone, walls and
stair, save only for a few beams of wood,
very different from those other cottages."
" Hush ! " cried Amos Green, and raised
his hand. The yells had died away and
they heard the heavy thud of a mallet
beating upon wood.
'' What can it be ! "
'' Some fresh devilry, no doubt."
" I regret to say, messieurs," observed the
seigneur, with no abatement of his com^tly
manner, " that it is my belief that they have
learned a lesson from our young friend here,
THE DINING HALL OF SAINTE MARIE. 265
and that they are knockmg out the heads of
the powder-barrels in the storeroom."
But Du Lhut shook his head at the sugges-
tion. ''It is not in a redskin to waste
powder," said he. ''It is a deal too precious
for them to do that. Ah, listen to that ! "
The yellings and screechings had begun
again, but there was a wilder, madder ring
in their shrillness, and they were mingled
with snatches of song and bursts of laughter.
" Ha I It is the brandy casks which they
have opened," cried Du Lhut. "They were bad
before, but they will be fiends out of hell now."
As he spoke there came another burst of
whoops and high above them a voice calling
for mercy. With horror in their eyes the
survivors glanced from one to the other. A
heavy smell of burning flesh rose from below,
and still that dreadful voice shrieking and
pleading. Then slowly it quavered away and
was silent forever.
" Who was it ? " whispered De Catinat,
his blood running cold in his veins.
266 THE REFUGEES.
'' It was Jean Corbei], I think."
'' May God rest his soul ! His troubles are
over. Would that we were as peaceful as
he I Ah, shoot him ! Shoot I "
A man had suddenly sprung out at the foot
of the stair and had swung his arm as though
throwing something. It was the Flemish
Bastard. Amos Green's musket flashed, but
the savage had sprung back again as rapidly
as he a23peared. Something splashed dow^n
amongst them and rolled across the floor in
" Down ! Down ! It is a bomb ! " cried
BuL it lay at Du Lhut's feet, and he had
seen it clearly. He took a cloth from the
table and dropped it over it.
" It is not a bomb," said he quietly, '' and it
was Jean Corbeil who died."
For four hours sounds of riot, of dancing
and of revelling rose up from the storehouse,
and the smell of the open brandy casks filled
the whole air. More than once the savages
THE DINING HALL OF SAINTE MARIE. 267
quarrelled and fought among themselves, and
it seemed as if they had forgotten their
enemies above, but the besieged soon found
that if they attempted to presume upon this
they were as closely watched as ever. The major-
domo, Theuriet, passing between a loop-hole
and a light was killed instantly by a bullet
from the stockade, and both Amos and the
old seigneur had narrow escapes until they
blocked all the windows save that which over-
looked the river. There was no danger from
this one, and, as day was already breaking
once more, one or other of the party was for
ever straining their eyes down the stream in
search of the expected succour.
Slowly the light crept up the eastern sky, a
httle line of pearl, then a band of pink, broad-
ening, stretching, spreading, until it shot its
warm colour across the heavens, tinging the
edges of the drifting clouds. Over the wood-
lands lay a thin gray vapour, the tops of the
high oaks jutting out like dim islands from
the sea of haze. Gradually as the light
268 THE REFUGEES.
increased the mist shredded off into little
ragged whisps which thinned and drifted
away, until at last, as the sun pushed its
glowing edge over the eastern forests, it
gleamed upon the reds and oranges and
purples of the fading leaves, and upon the
broad blue river which curled away to the
northward. De Catinat, as he stood at the
window looking out was breathing in the
healthy resinous scent of the trees, mingled
with the damp heavy odour of the wet earth,
when suddenly his eyes fell upon a dark spot
u23on the river to the north of them.
'' There is a canoe coming down ! " he
In an instant they had all rushed to the
opening, but Du Lhut sprang after them,
and pulled them angrily towards the door.
''Do you wish to die before your time ! "
" Aye, aye ! " said Captain Ephraim, who
understood the gesture if not the words.
" We must leave a watch on deck. Amos,
THE DINING HALL OF SAINTE MARIE. 269
lad, lie here with me and be ready if they
The two Americans and the old pioneer
held the barricade while the eyes of all the
others were turned upon the approaching
boat. A groan broke suddenly from the
only surviving censitaire,
''It is an Iroquois canoe ! " he cried.
" Impossible ! "
''Alas, your excellency, it is so, and it is
the same one which passed us last night."
"Ah, then the women have escaped them."
" I trust so. But alas, seigneur, I fear
that there are more in th6 canoe now than
when they passed us."
The little group of survivors waited in
breathless anxiety while the canoe sped swiftly
up the river, with a line of foa.m on either side
of her, and a long forked swirl in the waters
behind. They could see that she appeared to
be very crowded, but they remembered that
the wounded of the other boat were aboard of
her. On she shot and on until as she came
270 THE REFUGEES.
abreast of the fort she swung round, and the
rowers raised their paddles and burst into a
shrill yell of derision. The stern of the canoe
was turned towards them now, and they saw
that two women were seated in it. Even at
that distance there was no mistaking the
sweet pale face, or the dark queenly one
beside it. The one was Onega and the other
THE TWO SWIMMEKS.
Charles de la Noue, seigneur de Sainte Marie,
was a hard and self-contained man, but a groan
and a bitter ciu^se burst from him when he saw
his Indian wife in the hands of her kinsmen
from w^hom she could hope for little mercy.
Yet even now his old-fashioned courtesy to his
guest had made him turn to De Catinat with
some words of sympathy when there was a
clatter of wood, something darkened the light
of the window, and the young soldier was gone.
Without a word he had lowered the ladder
and was clambering down it with frantic
haste. Then as his feet touched the ground
he signalled to his comrades to draw it up
again and dashing into the river he swam
towards the canoe. Without arms and
without a plan he had but the one thought
272 THE KEFUGEES.
that his place was by the side of his wife in
this, the hour of her danger. Fate should
bring him what it brought her, and he swore
to himself as he clove a way with his strong
arms, that whether it were life or death they
should still share it together.
But there was another whose view of duty
led him from safety into the face of danger.
All night the Franciscan had watched De
Catinat as a miser watches his treasure, filled
with the thought that this heretic was the one
little seed which might spread and spread until
it choked the chosen vineyard of the Church.
Now when he saw him rush so suddenly down
the ladder, every fear was banished from his
mind save the overpowering one that he was
about to lose his precious charge. He, too,
clambered down at the very heels of his
prisoner, and rushed into the stream not ten
paces behind him.
And so the watchers at the window saw
the strangest of sights. There, in midstream,
lay the canoe, with a ring of dark warriors
THE TWO SWIMMERS. 273
clustering in the stern, and the two women
crouching in the midst of them. Swimming
madly towards them was De Catinat, rising to
the shoulders with the strength of every stroke,
and behind him again was the tonsured head
of the friar, with his brown capote and long
trailing gown floating upon the surface of the
water behind him. But in his zeal he had
thought too little of his own powers. He was
a good swimmer but he was weighted and
hampered by his unwieldy clothes. Slower
and slower grew his stroke, lower and lower
his head, until at last with a great shriek
of In manus tuas^ Domine ! he threw up
his hands, and vanished in the swirl of the
river. A minute later the watchers, hoarse
with screaming to him to return, saw De
Catinat pulled aboard the Iroquis canoe, which
was instantly turned, and continued its course
up the river.
'' My God ! " cried Amos hoarsely. '' They
have taken him. He is lost ! "
'' I have seen som;^ strange things in these
VOL. III. 18
274 THE REFUGEES.
forty years, but never the like of that ! " said
The seignem^ took a Httle pinch of snuff
from his gold box, and flicked the wandering
grains from his shirt-front with his dainty lace
'^ Monsieur de Catinat has acted like a
gentleman of France," said he. '^ If I could
swim now as I did thirty years ago, I should
be by his side."
Du Lhut glanced round him and shook his
head. " We are only six now," said he. ^^ I
fear that they are up to some devilry because
they are so very still."
'' They are leaving the house ! " cried the
ceiisitaire^ who was peeping through one of
the side windows. ^^ What can it mean I
Holy Virgin, is it possible that we are saved ?
See how they throng through the trees. They
are making for the canoe. Now they are
waving their arms and pointing."
'' There is the gray hat of that mongrel
devil amongst them," said the captain. " I
THE TWO SWIMMERS. 275
would try a shot upon him were it not a waste
of powder and lead."
'' I have hit the mark at as long a range,"
said Amos, pushing his long brown gun
through a chink in the barricade which they
had thrown across the lower half of the
window. " I would give my next year's
trade to bring him down."
''It is forty paces further than my musket
would carry," remarked Du Lhut, " but I
have seen the English shoot a great way
with those long guns."
Amos took a steady aim, resting his
gun upon the window sill, and fired. A
shout of delight burst from the little knot
of survivors. The Flemish Bastard had
fallen. But he was on his feet again in
an instant and shook his hand defiantly at
" Curse it \ " cried Amos bitterly, in English.
" I have hit him with a spent ball. As well
strike him with a pebble."
" Nay, curse not, Amos, lad, but try him
276 THE REFUGEES.
again with another pinch of powder if your
gun will stand it."
The woodsman thrust in a full charge, and
chose a well-rounded bullet from his bag, but
when he looked again both the Bastard and
his warriors had disappeared. On the river
the single Iroquois canoe which held the
captives was speeding south as swiftly as
twenty paddles could drive it, but save this
one dark streak upon the blue stream, not
a sign was to be seen of their enemies. They
had vanished as if they had been an evil
dream. There was the bullet-spotted stock-
ade, the litter of dead bodies inside it, the
burned and roofless cottages, but the silent
w^oods lay gleaming in the morning sunshine
as quiet and peaceful as if no hell-burst of
fiends had ever broken out from them.
'' By my faith, I believe that they have
gone ! " cried the seigneur.
" Take care that it is not a ruse," said Du
Llmt. '' Whv should thev fly before six men
when they have conquered sixty ! "
THE TWO SWIMMEKS. 277
But the censitaire had looked out of the
other window, and in an instant he was down
upon his knees with his hands in the air, and
his powder-blackened face turned upwards,
pattering out prayers and thanksgivings. His
five comrades rushed across the room and
burst into a shriek of joy. The upper reach
of the river was covered with a flotilla of
canoes from which the sun struck quick
flashes as it shone upon the musket barrels
and trappings of the crews. Already they
could see the white coats of the regulars, the
brown tunics of the coureurs-de-bois, and the
gaudy colours of the Hurons and Algonquins.
On they swept, dotting the whole breadth of
the river, and growing larger every instant,
while far away on the southern bend, the
Iroquois canoe was a mere moving dot which
had shot away to the fiu-ther side and lost
itself presently under the shadow of the trees.
Another minute and the survivors were out
upon the bank, waving their caps in the air
while the prows of the first of their rescuers
278 THE KEFUGEES.
were already grating upon the pebbles. In
the stern of the very foremost canoe sat a
wizened little man with a large brown wig.
and a gilt-headed rapier laid across his knees.
He sprang out as the keel touched bottom,
splashing through the shallow water with his
high leather boots, and rushing up to the
seigneur, he flung himself into his arms.
'' My dear Charles/' he cried, " you have
held your house like a hero. What, only six
of you ! Tut, tut, this has been a bloody
business ! "
'' I knew that you would not desert a
comrade, Chambly. We have saved the
house but our losses have been terrible. My
son is dead. My wife is in that Iroquois
canoe in front of you."
The commandant of Fort St. Louis pressed
his friend's hand in silent sympathy.
'' The others arrived all safe," he said at
last. " Only that one was taken, on account
of the breaking of a paddle. Three were
drowned and two captured. There was a
THE TWO SWIMMERS. 279
French lady in it, I understand, as well as
" Yes, and they have taken her husband as
" Ah, poor souls ! Well, if you are strong
enough to join us, you and your friends, we
shall follow after them without the loss of an
instant. Ten of my men will remain to guard
the house, and you can have their canoe.
Jump in then, and forward, for life and death
may hang upon our speed I "
The Iroquois had not treated De Catinat
harshly when they dragged him from the
water into their canoe. So incomprehensible
was it to them why any man should volun-
tarily leave a place of safety in order to put
himself in their power that they could only set
it down to madness, a malady which inspires
awe and respect among the Indians. They
did not even tie his wrists, for why should he
attempt to escape when he had come of his
own free will. Two warriors passed their hands
over him, to be sure that he was unarmed
and he was then thrust down between the
two women while the canoe darted in towards
the bank to tell the others that the St. Louis
garrison was coming up the stream. Then it
steered out again, and made its way swiftly
THE END. 281
up the centre of the river. Adfele was deadly
pale and her hand, as her husband laid his
upon it, was as cold as marble.
" My darling," he whispered, '' tell me that
all is well with you вАФ that you are unhurt ! "
" Oh, Amory, why did you come ? Why
did you come, Amory ? Oh, I think I could
have borne anything, but if they hurt you I
could not bear that."
" How could I stay behind when I knew
that you were in their hands. I should have
gone mad ! "
"^ Ah, it was mv one consolation to think
that vou were safe."
" No, no, we have gone through so much
together that we cannot part now. What is
death, Adele ? Why should we be afraid of it? "
" I am not afraid of it."
'' And I am not afraid of it. Things will
come about as God wills it, and what he
wills must in the end be the best. If we
live, then we have this memory in common.
If we die, then we go hand-in-hand into
282 THE REFUGEES.
another life. Courage, my own, all will be
well with us."
'' Tell me, monsieur," said Onega, '' is my
lord still living ? "
'' Yes, he is alive and well."
'' It is good. He is a great chief, and I
have never been sorry, not even now, that I
have wedded with one who was not of my
own people. But ah, my son I Who shall
give my son back to me ? He was like the
young sapling, so straight and so strong !
Who could run with him, or leap with him, or
swim with him ? Ere that sun shines again
we shall all be dead, and my heart is glad, for
I shall see my boy once more."
The Iroquois paddles had bent to their
work until a good ten miles lay between them
and Sainte Marie. Then they ran the canoe
into a little creek upon their own side of the
river, and sprang out of her, dragging the
prisoners after them. The canoe was carried
on the shoulders of eight men some distance
into the wood where they concealed it between
THE END. 283
two fallen trees, heaping a litter of branches
over it to screen it from view. Then after a
short council, they started through the forest
walking in single file, with their three prisoners
in the middle. There were fifteen warriors in
all, eight in front and seven behind, all armed
with muskets and as swift-footed as deer, so
that escape was out of the question. They
could but follow on, and wait in patience for
whatever might befall them.
All day they pursued their dreary march,
picking their way through vast morasses,
skirting the borders of blue woodland lakes
where the gray stork flapped heavily up from
the reeds at their approach, or plunging into
dark belts of woodland where it is always
twilight, and where the falling of the wild
chestnuts, and the chatter of the squirrels a
hundred feet above their heads were the only
sounds which broke the silence. Onega had
the endurance of the Indians themselves, but
Adele, in spite of her former journeys, was
footsore and weary before evening. It was a
284 THE REFUGEES.
relief to De Catinat, therefore, when the red
glow of a great fire beat suddenly through the
tree trunks, and they came upon an Indian
camp in which was assembled the greater
part of the war-party which had been driven
from Sainte Marie. Here, too, were a number
of the squaws who had come from the Mohawk
and Cajuga villages in order to be nearer to
the warriors. Wigwams had been erected all
round in a circle, and before each of them
were the fires with kettles slung upon a tripod
of sticks in which the evening meal was being
cooked. In the centre of all was a very fierce
fire which had been made of brushwood placed
in a circle, so as to leave a clear space of
twelve feet in the middle. A pole stood up in
the centre of this clearing, and something all
mottled with red and black was tied up
against it. De Catinat stepped swiftly in
front of Adele that she might not see the
dreadful thing, but he was too late. She
shuddered, and drew a quick breath between
her pale lips, but no sound escaped her.
THE END. 285
'' They have begun already, then," said
Onega composedly. '' Well, it will be our
turn next, and we shall show them that we
know how to die."
'' They have not ill-used us yet," said De
Catinat. '' Perhaps they will keep us for
ransom or exchange."
The Indian woman shook her head. ^' Do
not deceive yourself by any such hope," said
she. '' When they are as gentle as they have
been with you it is ever a sign that you are
reserved for the torture. Your wife will be
married to one of their chiefs, but you and I
must die, for you are a warrior, and I am too
old for a squaw."
Married to an Iroquois ! Those dreadful
words shot a pang through both their hearts
which no thought of death could have done.
De Catinat's head dropped forward upon his
chest and he staggered and would have fallen
had Ad'ele not caught him by the arm.
" Do not fear, dear Amory," she whispered.
'' Other things may happen but not that, for
286 THE REFUGEES.
I swear to you that I shall not survive you.
No, it may be sin or it may not, but if death
will not come to me, I will go to it."
De Catinat looked down at the gentle face
which had set now into the hard lines of an
immutable resolve. He knew that it would
be as she had said, and that, come what might,
that last outrage would not befall them.
Could he ever have believed that the time would
come when it would send a thrill of joy through
his heart to know that his wife would die ?
As they entered the Iroquois village the
squaws and warriors had rushed towards
them, and they passed through a double line
of hideous faces which jeered and jibed and
howled at them as they passed. Their escort
led them through this rabble and conducted
them to a hut which stood apart. It was
empty, save for some willow fishing nets
hanging at the side, and a heap of pumpkins
stored in the corner.
" The chiefs will come and will decide upon
what is to be done with us," said Onega.
THE END. 287
'' Here they are coming now, and you will
soon see that I am right, for I know the ways
of my own people."
An instant later an old war chief, accom-
panied by two younger braves and by the
bearded half-Dutch Iroquois who had led the
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